Five-match ban for McNamara

Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara has been hit with a five-match touchline ban.

Last Updated: 10/04/14 at 16:31 Post Comment

Jackie McNamara: Must serve a five-match touchline ban

Jackie McNamara: Must serve a five-match touchline ban

Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara has been hit with a five-match touchline ban ahead of his team's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers on Saturday.

McNamara has been punished with an immediate three-game suspension by a Scottish Football Association disciplinary panel for his touchline row with St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright, who escaped with a suspended one-game ban.

The former Celtic player can still be in the dugout for Saturday's last-four clash against Rangers at Ibrox if he appeals against the punishment.

The pair were sent to the stand during St Johnstone's 1-0 victory at Tannadice on March 12 after arguing when McNamara complained about a refereeing decision.

McNamara was found guilty of misconduct by the "repeated use of offensive, insulting and abusive language" while Wright was found guilty of breaching the same rule by "leaving the technical area in the absence of special circumstances and by adopting a threatening and aggressive attitude towards an opposing member of team staff".

Two-fifths of the former Scotland international's ban is suspended until the end of next season while Wright's ban is suspended until the end of 2014.

McNamara was unable to attend the Hampden hearing because it clashed with his team's training session and the SFA would not delay proceedings until later in the afternoon.

A statement from United read: "The club is disappointed at this outcome, particularly as the manager was unable to attend the hearing in person, and will now consider whether to appeal."

Saints said Wright had attended the hearing and had not denied the charge.

Meanwhile, McNamara is confident his "fearless" young players can handle the occasion of their semi-final against Rangers.

McNamara showed the depth of his faith in teenagers John Souttar and Ryan Gauld when he started both in last year's semi-final against Celtic at Hampden, which United lost 4-3 after extra-time.

And the pair have gone on to become regulars for United this season alongside the likes of Scotland Under-21 captain Stuart Armstrong and left-back Andy Robertson, who turned 20 last month just after making his Scotland debut.

McNamara is trying to keep preparations for Saturday's clash as normal as possible and he feels the mentality of his young players means they will not be overawed by the atmosphere in Govan.

"If you look back to last year, young Souttar and Gauld came in aged 16 and 17 to play in the semi-final, everyone thought that was incredible to start the game and come through it the way they have," said McNamara.

"What's happened this season, not just the good things, the speculation about them going here and there, but also the negative stuff, having a wee blip and little injuries, these are things they are learning at such a young age. They are experiencing the highs as well as the lows, which is important.

"It comes down to fear. Some young players have not experienced fear or the pressures and disappointments that are on them from the fans and media.

"They have had a good taste of it this year but I still think they are fearless in their approach, which for me is the way it should be when they go out to play football.

"They should go and express themselves and try to win the game in the right way. That's what will help them achieve their goals."

United have trained as normal this week at their St Andrew's University complex and McNamra has not noticed anyone getting carried away.

"There is no difference in them and it's the way it should be," the former Scotland international said. "If you start putting stuff into their heads and reading things in the paper, they probably wouldn't sleep at night.

"The performance needs to be good from a good number of players, the concentration has to be spot-on and handling the occasion and not getting carried away, which is why we are trying to keep it as low key as possible. You want them to go and think the same like every other game."

McNamara feels some of his players' comments about their chances have been misrepresented and he stressed they knew the scale of their task following Rangers' Ramsdens Cup final loss to Raith Rovers.

"We are under no illusion how hard it's going to be," he said. "The fallout from last weekend and the backlash that the players and manager have suffered has been pretty harsh, and for them it's a massive thing for them this Saturday to put things right."


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